Rafael Nadal wins in four sets, reaches Aussie Open third round



By The Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia – Rafael Nadal was knocked down, not out.

Hit once on the hand and sent sprawling by another stinging shot aimed in his direction, Nadal kept his composure in a 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win Thursday against Philipp Kohlschreiber and reached the third round of the Australian Open.

After zinging a shot into Nadal’s left hand at 1-1 in the second set, Kohlschreiber went right at Nadal again in the next game, knocking him down with another laser. Nadal blocked it back as he fell away and dropped his racket, allowing the German to hit an easy winner. Nadal got up slowly, looking over his shoulder and shaking his head.

“The first one I understand, fine – you are in the net, you want to win the point,” Nadal said. “But the second one … he has all court.”

Kohlschreiber went for broke, ripping 48 winners and 58 unforced errors in the 3 1/2-hour match.

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“He was in the way, I think,” Kohlschreiber said. “It’s tough, if you’re not sure to pass him, go to the middle and play fast. I know he’s not used to play so good volleys. For me, it was just a normal play.”

It takes more than a few stingers to intimidate the muscular Nadal, who has spent a record 78 weeks at No. 2 in the rankings behind Roger Federer. But the Spaniard did not help himself, losing his serve three times in the third set.

“It was very important for me – a very good test because I finished the match very good physically,” he said. “I didn’t play good in the third set … I didn’t have confidence in my serve. But it came back.”